There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creamy White Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

I have said it before but it bears repeating, I know a good recipe when I steal it.  My daughter-in-law posted this on FB and there was no waiting to test it out before I said it was a good one.  Lasagna is a favorite in our house as is alfredo sauce.  Since she is breast feeding right now and Kaycie isn't a fan of red sauce this is the perfect alternative.  Of course grandma isn't capable of following a recipe just as it is written so here it is with the changes that I made.

Creamy White Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

4 cups shredded cooked chicken

2 cans artichoke hearts drained and chopped

2 pkg (8oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes soaked in oil (costs less than the oil-packed variety)

4- 8 oz pkg cream cheese softened

2 c milk

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 c tightly packed fresh basil chopped

24 lasagna noodles cooked


Combine chicken, artichokes, 1/2 mozzarella, parmesan and tomatoes. Beat cream cheese, milk and garlic powder with mixer until well blended; stir in 2 tbsp basil. Mix half with the chicken mixture.
Spread half the remaining cream cheese mixture onto bottom of two 13x9 baking dishes; cover with 3 noodles and 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of noodles and chicken mixture twice. Top with remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture and mozzarella; cover.
Bake 25 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Let stand 5 min..

My Additions:  I made a small white sauce and used oven ready noodles and spinach.  I added spinach to the layers and then topped it all with the white sauce so that it would be moist enough.  The taste was excellent and the texture was really good.

For those who are gluten free just use rice noodles and thicken your sauce with corn starch.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 20 May 2013

Outside my window...the sun is shining and it looks like the potential for a glorious day.  I think the little people can play in their yard and I will take my computer outside and work on final exams out there.

I am thinking...about little boys who are somewhat spoiled.  That situation needs to be nipped in the before it becomes intolerable!

I am thankful...for a husband who loves me in spite of my poor battered old body.

From the kitchen...I have to put on my creative cookery hat and think up something for supper tonight.

I am wearing....comfy loungy stuff.  The back has been grieving me lately so it is difficult to dress in anything complicated right now.

I am stay home and finish up finals for at least one subject today.

I am reading...nothing...yet.  At the end of the week I will again indulge in some recreational reading.

I am hoping...that a bare minimum of PT sessions are all it takes to get my back and sciatic never under submission.  I haven't got time to lay around waiting for the pain to let up.

I am hearing....Savannah playing with her toy animals.  I love to hear the sounds that she makes in imitation of the ones she imagines that they make.  I hear MK's bird chipping away at it's mineral stone.  I can hear the radio across the road playing classic favorites to keep the pigs and calves company.

Around the house...MK has everything picked up, the kids fed and dressed, and the first load of laundry going.  How blessed I am to have family who cares so much and takes good care.  

One of my favorite things...watching Savannah bustling about the house doing her little girl things.  

A few plans for the rest of the week...finishing up school has priority.  Then I would like to get a few sewing projects done.  The hops need weeding and that should be done before they get much bigger.  That's probably enough work for one week and one person who is supposed to be resting.

Yesterday MK sang in a concert with our area  choral group.  Her father and I are so proud of her.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yummy Sesame Chicken

I know a good recipe when I swipe one and this is an excellent example of that.  My daughter-in-law shared this on FB and I knew when I read it that I was going to be hooked with one taste.

Sesame Chicken for slow cooker

1 1/2 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried onion
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds

Put chicken into crock pot. 
Combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, and garlic. Pour over chicken. 
Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. 
Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. 
Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. 
Cut chicken into bite size pieces and return to crock pot - can leave chicken in and simmer on low or serve. 
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

Of course true to my own form I had to make changes right with the first try.  I had no boneless skinless chicken so I used bone-in breasts.  I am also trying to cut wheat and all gluten out of my diet so I used GF soy sauce.  Other than that the recipe is still the same.  I cooked the chicken in the sauce then took it out, boned it, and shredded it up.  It was served over white rice that I cooked in my daughter's rice cooker along with green beans.  Very quick, easy and satisfying meal.

There's something about a pair of shoes....

I have never seen a little kid who wasn't fascinated by a pair of shoes, adult shoes that is.  When all my kids were little they would commandeer a pair of someone's shoes and go clumping about the house wearing them.  One of MK's favorite things to do was to put on high heels and try valiantly to walk around in them.
These two kids are no exception.

Sunday Savannah couldn't resist her daddy's boots sitting in the kitchen beside the door. Nothing would do but to get herself into them and try to walk about with them on.  

The owner of the shoes is no impediment to wearing them either.  Layn found this pair of MK's shoes in the kitchen and stole into the bathroom to put them on.  How proud he was to come strutting out with Auntie Mate's shoes and show them off.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 13 May 2013

Outside my window...the wind is blowing at a good clip and it is downright chilly out there.  The weather men talked about snow but I am very pleased to see that there is none of that stuff out there.  

I am thinking...about celebrations and the unique way that this family does things.  The greatest gift that I received yesterday is the knowledge that my name was included in the mass said for mothers.

I am thankful for...all of my children, children in law, and my grandchildren.  

From the kitchen....some cooking will need to be done today. The men cooked such an outstanding meal that there are barely any leftovers!

I am wearing...flannel jammies!  The sweet wonderful man in my life let me sleep in this morning since I didn't get to sleep until the wee hours.

I am going...nowhere today.  MK has to work and therefore I will have no wheels.  That's quite alright since there is plenty calling to me right here at home.

I am reading...NOTHING! Never thought that I would say this but after all the reading and rereading for school it is good to take a week off.

I am get schoolwork done early today so that I can sit at the sewing machine or maybe get the quilt off the frame.

I am hearing...Layn talking to himself while he plays with the Legos, the fan on the furnace making sure that we have heat up here, and the wind blowing the chimes on the front porch.

Around the house...there is evidence everywhere of the presence of little people.  Safety gates, toys scattered about, and sippy cups are silent reminders that life prospers in this home.

One of my favorite things...the long drive that Doug and I took yesterday to cap off the day. What a blessing to have a man who knows how to please and is pleased by the same things too.

A few plans for the rest of the work to wrap up, work to be done and family to be enjoyed.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
I love the way that Savannah continues to be fascinated with Kaycie.  She is learning well how to love.

Happy Mother's Day!

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

Seeing a sign that says "Seasonal Limited Use Highway" is not a deterrent to us but an invitation.  Along this little used highway we happened upon this old and abandoned cemetery.  Knowing that these treasures are another pleasure for me, my husband stopped the car and we explored.

Though saddened by the abuse that time and people have wrought upon the stones, we both prayerfully read the names of the inhabitants and speculated about the lives that were contained therein.

Then back in the car for some more surprises and scenery!  

South of here are several wind farms.  Though in some areas of the country their presence is frowned upon and folks say that they are an eyesore, I find them both lovely and compelling.  The soft whir of the blades turning in the breeze and the undulating shadows that they cast upon the ground have almost a calming effect.

There is also something so right about capturing the breezes that blow and turning them into lights to read by and warmth for the home.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 5 May 2013

Outside my window...the world is bright and brand new.  The sun is shining and multitudinous birds are singing.

I am thinking...about music and the range of feelings and emotions that can be expressed by a few simple chords.

I am thankful for...a day spent without any stress or schedule.  Thank you to my wonderful husband for giving in to the whims of his emotional wife.  Yesterday was perfect.

From the kitchen...the plan is for Auntie Kim's Cowboy Casserole.  There, now that we have a plan the rest of the day can begin.

I am odd combination of sweatshirt and capris.  It's Monday and there is no place I have to go and no one here cares what I look like!!!!! Hooray for days like this.

I am going...nowhere!!!!!  The car shall have this day off to rest and recover from all of its faithful service.

I am reading...Othello by William Shakespeare

I am get the bulk of my remaining assignments done today.  The stacks of fabric that I have been playing with are calling to me.  I have this large need to cut and sew.

I am hearing...Layn upstairs getting his room cleaned up and his laundry together (yes at 3 his mean grandma makes him do his own room and gather his laundry), I can hear the murmurs of MK and Melissa talking about something, and the parakeet chirping in its cage.

Around the house...there has been a subtle shift to warm weather mode.  Window areas have been cleared so that breezes don't knock things over.  Winter things are slowly disappearing and signs of spring and summer appear in their places.  It is housekeeping's nod to the change in seasons.

One of my favorite things...laying on the grass and watching the birds in the trees.  Spent plenty of time yesterday doing just that.

A few plans for the rest of the week....I think that this week I won't make plans.  Playing it by ear seems to be in order and coordinate well with the warm temperatures.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you....
An ants eye view of MK's perennial garden.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Going beyond Gluten free

I have difficulty with my weight, always have. In the past ten years I have also had problems with my digestion and an increasing number of food allergies and sensitivities.  I did not jump on the bandwagon of gluten free eating just because it is the fad, believe me this girl misses eating the homemade bread that she bakes every week!  I have researched and chosen to eat mostly gluten free for a couple of years now because I notice a positive change in my digestion and in how uncomfortable I am in the evening.  
Recently I bought and read a book call "Wheat Belly" and have had a dietary epiphany.  After eating totally grain free for over a week now, and going through withdrawl symptoms I can say that I feel incredibly good.  There have been no symptoms of GERD for four days now and I am completely free from cravings.
Tonight I was very tempted to cheat because my family is having Tacos and I really like wraps of any kind, especially spinach!!! So I decided to try this recipe from the "Wheat Belly Cookbook" and it is definitely a keeper!!!

Herbed Focaccia
2 cups almond meal/flour
1 cup garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup ground golden flaxseeds
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp instant yeast (optional)
4 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a round baking stone with olive oil, line it with parchment paper, and then liberally brush the paper with oil.

To Make the Dough:
In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Stir or whisk to combine and break up the flour.
In a small bowl or glass measure, whisk the buttermilk and the yeast until it dissolves.  Set aside. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a rough dough ball forms. Gently fold in the egg whites until they're fairly well incorporated. The dough will not become completely smooth, and the whites will still be somewhat frothy.

Spread the dough in the pan with a spatula or spoon. Lightly coat your fingertips with oil and dimple the top of the dough. Pour oil over the top making sure it is entirely covered.  

I sprinkled mine with basil, oregano and garlic powder but you can leave it plain or use a different mix of herbs.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and slightly spongy in the center.
With a pizza cutter or knife, cut into the desired size and number of flatbreads. Serve warm.